A 16-year-old Kurdish girl from Iran, Armita Garavand, has died after 28 days in a coma due to allegedly being confronted by the authorities over the country’s hijab law.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency confirmed the girl’s death, reporting that she was “suffering hypothermia and passed out as she was walking to school at the Shahada Square subway station in early October”.
Garawand’s encounter with the moral police reportedly took place when she was travelling on a metro train in Tehran and was confronted by officers for not wearing the compulsory hijab covering for women. During the incident, her head was reportedly banged against a pole as she was removed from the train.
However, Iranian security forces denied any physical abuse by the authorities. The government’s version of events is different, claiming that she simply fainted.
After the alleged beating, Garawand’s medical team told her family that her brain was no longer functioning and that there was no hope of recovery three weeks after the incident.
Garawand’s case bears similarities to that of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died while in the custody of the morality police. Amini’s death in September 2022 led to widespread protests and demonstrations across Iran, with demonstrators rallying under the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ (Woman, Life, Freedom).
These women-led uprisings began in the Kurdish regions of western Iran, known as Rojhilat, and quickly spread across the country. The protests have left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of the Iranian people, claiming at least 500 lives and injuring thousands more. Despite the Amini family’s complaints against those responsible for her death, no significant action has yet been taken to address the grievances of the protesters and their families.